The West Virginia Men’s Basketball team currently sits at 13th in the famous, “way too early rankings” for this upcoming season. According to the Las Vegas Sportsbook, WVU is tied with Auburn and UCLA with 35/1 odds to win the 2019 national championship.
All Mountaineer fans have something to be excited about with Sagaba Konate returning and possibly the greatest recruiting class Bob Huggins has ever had.
Leading the way is flashy point guard Jordan McCabe from Kaukauna, Wisconsin. McCabe has millions of views on YouTube, and many wonder if his style of play really fits in with “Press Virginia.”
My personal take on it is that McCabe has the mindset that Huggins wants in a player. He is smaller than a lot of guards at 5’10”, but he knows what he is good at and he works on those skills to improve on them. McCabe can shoot the lights out from deep and may have the best court vision of any player to ever come through West Virginia.
McCabe will team up with Trey Doomes and Jermaine Haley in the backcourt. Doomes was apart of one of the best high school teams in the country, University School (Florida), as he helped take them to the Geico National Championship where they lost to Montverde Academy (FL).
Jermaine Haley adds much needed length to the backcourt, which is expected to play a big part in the press. Haley was a four-star recruit out of high school, committing to New Mexico State where he would soon transfer to Odessa Junior College (Texas) after his freshman year.
Last season, Haley won conference Co-Defensive Player of the Year and was one of the top junior college players in the country. Many feel as though Haley will be an immediate impact this season with his style of play and his ability to create a mismatch for opposing teams.
With all of the talent the Mountaineers will have in the backcourt, you can’t overlook the big guys. Coach Huggins went out and recruited guys that will follow in Konate’s footsteps once he is gone. Derek Culver is a ferocious shot blocker who attended Brewster Academy (New Hampshire) for a year of preparation before coming to WVU.
Culver is, in my opinion, very underrated even as a four-star recruit. He has great agility underneath, athleticism, and has the ability to step out and hit the three. Culver’s shot blocking ability is also very comparable to Konate, with the way he gets up and just takes away any opportunity for an opposing player to score.
Coach Huggins also picked up another junior college transfer in Andrew Gordon, who is a 6’10” power forward from Northwest Florida C.C. that will create a deadly presence in the paint.
Last but not least, Huggins had some help adding the final piece of the puzzle in the 2018 recruiting class. Emmitt Matthews Jr., an athletic shooting forward from Tacoma, WA is close friends with McCabe and Doomes, both who helped get him to WVU.
Matthews originally committed to UCONN, but after a coaching change he was granted a release. WVU quickly got back in touch with him, and after he saw that McCabe and Doomes had committed, it was a pretty easy decision for him.
Finally, the Mountaineers have all the right pieces to make a deep run come March. The first step is winning the elusive Big 12 Championship. WVU has made an appearance in the last three Big 12 Championships, falling to Kansas in 2016, Iowa State in 2017, and the Jayhawks again last season.
With a lot of experienced players returning, plenty of young talent coming in, and a hall of fame coach, West Virginia is set to have a historic season and will be in good shape for years to come.